So it’s been a year since the end of my PCT adventure, and this will be the final post for this blog. Regarding the hike, it was EPIC and if you haven’t planned to hike the PCT, I think you should. I believe those that will find the courage inside of themselves to plan, organize, prepare, and actually do the hike, are also the type of people who will love and cherish the trail and the lands it runs through. I also believe if you are capable of finishing the PCT, you can’t be stopped by anything (in life) but yourself.
I was just sharing my next adventure with a friend who laughed audibly when I said, “I’ll be leaving in late July or early August for my next adventure.” He was blown away that I was making plans so far in advance when the adventure was almost a year away. I kept to myself regarding the two-year plan it took for me to prepare for the PCT. Afterwards, while he was sharing about his own life, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’m getting better at planning or if I’m getting foolish at planning. The mind is an odd friend and foe.
Let’s go back to my hike of the PCT last year. People have asked the generic question, “What was your favorite part?” about a thousand times and my answer is always the same. “Favorite in what way?” The views are amazing almost everywhere along the trail, and the places that weren’t fade away from my memory. Through-hikers are my favorite people in the entire world, and the people who weren’t fade away as well. The food…who cares? Just eat it! All of it!
The real question to ask a through–hiker is this: “What mile did you meet yourself?” Now that question will give you something far greater then you ever hoped to learn. My favorite parts of the trail come in as many layers as there are people but where I met myself was mile 2,300.
That’s the mile I learned to forgive my father. I’m a slow learner so no wonder it took 2,300 miles. After mile 2,300, something shifted in me and I realized I have used a survival filter (as I call it at times) that allows some types of people to be close while preventing others from ever getting close. Consider your childhood as an organic living breathing filter; it grows over time and twists like a vine, blocking some sunlight, shielding life’s harsh weather, connecting at various points and reaching through cracks in barriers placed there by other people. Mile 2,300 gave me a moment of peace and clarity as I quietly looked behind me to see just how this vine/filter has served me over the years, then it became abundantly clear that the survival filter I had been using all these years has long since stopped serving me and was now antiquated. I had subconsciously held a grudge against this man (my father) who did his best at the time, with the tools he had available, to create me. He made mistakes, just as I have with my children. A grudge I didn’t even realize had developed, and it became my rudder that moved me through life’s turbulent seas and steered me clear of things, some amazing things I completely missed out on, some harmful things that may have shifted me sooner. Had I been aware of it, would I have changed something? Maybe. Maybe not. The important thing was to trim (dramatically) this vine, this filter, this outdated version of me. In order to do this drastically difficult task, I needed to forgive my father. And so I did. It’s just that easy. Father, I forgive you. You are absolved of all wrongdoing. Forever.
364 miles to Canada.
So where do I go from here? I don’t know. There is no sure thing, no comfort in stability, no precise plan or pattern of living that will give me that ever–elusive feeling of certainty. I can only know I am forever changed, and always evolving, moving and shifting from who I once was into…. the unknown version of me. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be fun. It’s going to hurt and sting a lot. In the meantime I will embark on another EPIC adventure. Want a hint? Come follow along. klr17.wordpress.com